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    GREEN LIGHT: Contestant Mark Fagan and his dog Faith at last year’s Moyston Sheep Dog Trials. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

AgLife: Moyston sheep dog trials forging ahead

The Moyston community is busy planning the longest-running consecutive sheepdog trials in the country, scheduled to take place in a COVID-safe format next month.  

Workers and their dogs will travel from across Victoria to be part of the 93rd annual Moyston Sheep Dog Trials at the town’s recreation reserve from March 11 to 13. 

Moyston Sheep Dog Club secretary Helen Spencer said she was excited organisers could proceed with the event despite uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“We are planning to go ahead with this event, subject to government restrictions or changes due to the pandemic,” she said. 

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“Entries close at the beginning of March and are still flowing in.” 

The three-day event, which started in 1928, features predominantly border collies and a few kelpies, which under command from their handlers, direct sheep through a variety of obstacles.

Early last year the competition went ahead within weeks of the first round of Australia-wide COVID-19 lockdowns. 

Ms Spencer said more than 90 people entered the competition from across the country.  

“We just managed to sneak the event in last year before lockdown – it was really good with good numbers and good weather,” she said. 

Ms Spencer said COVID restrictions would make it difficult for the sheep dog club to run the event as a fundraiser as it had in past years. 

“Normally a big part of our fundraising and covering costs is meals, with morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. This is our biggest money spinner for the trial,” she said. 

“Each year we put money back into public parks, such as the pavilion or the recreation reserve.  

“This year the meals are probably the main thing that will have to go – there’s just too much uncertainty in that space due to the pandemic.” 

Ms Spencer said the club would also be seeking volunteers to help with the event. 

“The Moyston community generally provides great support for this event, but we’re always seeking more hands to help out,” she said. 

– Dylan De Jong

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The entire February 24, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire February 24, 2021 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!